Learning to tell time and developing healthy time management skills sets kids up for long term success, and builds a foundation that kids will use the rest of their lives. That doesn’t make it easy to teach kids (is anything ‘easy’ to teach kids?) about time management though. Today we’ve got a few handy tips to help you teach your kids to manage their own time (with the help of the Tobi™ Robot Smartwatch) while they play.

Break the Day into Large Chunks

Time is a very abstract concept at first, so it’s generally easier to start with the big picture. For younger kids especially, try breaking the day down into large chunks like morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night at first and associating specific activities with each chunk of time. By associating things like meals, playing in the backyard, silent dance party time, or any of your kids other favorite activities, it ties the concept of time to specific parts of their everyday life and makes it feel ‘real.’

Then Break the Day Down Into Smaller Pieces

If your kids understand the concept of morning, noon, and night, or even hours, try breaking their day into smaller pieces like quarter hours. Kids typically master telling time by the 2nd or 3rd grade, and breaking time down into smaller and smaller pieces is a great way to help build their understanding of it. Try tying each quarter hour to a fun, physical activity like dancing, hula hooping, or doing a somersault to make it memorable. By anchoring an activity and a specific time in kids’ brains, you’re helping them gain a stronger grasp on the passage of time while also breaking time down into smaller pieces.

Practice Skip Counting

Probably the trickiest part about teaching kids to tell time (with an analog clock, certainly) is that numbers on a clock have two meanings. The number one can mean One AM/PM or it can mean five minutes past the hour depending on which hand is pointing to it. One proven method to help kids understand the two different meanings that numbers on a clock can have is skip counting. To practice, have your kids count in intervals of five from five to 60. Once they’ve mastered skip counting by fives, help them identify which numbers pair up on a clock (for example four and 20 or nine and 45) so they can grasp the idea of minutes. The Tobi™ Robot Smartwatch is excellent for kids to practice their skip counting on with over 50 analog and digital watch faces to choose from.

Turn Everyday Activities into a Race

If you’re a parent, then you know the magical power that the phrase “I’ll race you!” has over kids. These magic words are also a great way to inject some fun into your kids’ day. Using their Tobi™ Robot Smartwatch (or a basic stopwatch), have your kids time themselves as they put away their toys, walk the dog, brush their teeth, or do any other daily activities. You can make tons of activities more fun just by encouraging your kids to try to beat their record time each day. Try keeping a log of their different times to help your kids familiarize themselves with minutes and seconds while they practice writing numbers.

Establish Some Routines

Setting routine times when your kids wake up and go to bed (and any other routines you think are important), is a great way to improve their time management skills. Use an alarm clock (the Tobi™ Robot Smartwatch has built-in alarms your kids can set themselves) to help your kids get into a routine schedule on schooldays. Establishing a routine schedule lets your kids get into a regular rhythm and lets them plan out their playtime too!

Let Your Kids Manage Their Own Calendar

Speaking of planning, if your kids have busy schedules filled with schoolwork, family time, sports practice, and more activities, try empowering them to track their schedules themselves (of course, we recommend you keep track too in case they ‘forget’ something). By giving your kids control over their own schedule, you can help them see how they need to manage their time for things like sports, playtime, schoolwork, and more. The Tobi™ Robot Smartwatch even lets kids create custom birthday reminders, vacation reminders, and more on their calendar.

Create Special Spaces for Different Activities

If your kids have trouble managing their own schedule, sometimes it’s easy to instill healthy time management by limiting activities to different rooms of the house. Try having them do all their schoolwork at a desk, limiting their tablet use to the living room, or try practicing reading in their favorite chair. By associating different activities with specific areas (and specific times of day), you’re creating strong physical reminders for your kids. It can also help to re-energize your kids throughout the day with a change of scenery.

Be Your Kids’ Coach

Often times, parents feel like they have to ‘manage’ their kids, which can be difficult for parents and kids alike. Instead, try to think of yourself as your kids’ coach. By that, we mean you’re there to motivate them to practice good time management skills, rather than to enforce strict rules about how they can spend their time. If your kids take a little longer than normal doing schoolwork, that’s okay! It’s an opportunity to ask them how they think they could do better next time and encourage them to keep on going.

Alright, ready to teach your kids to manage their own time? You can do this! Remember our advice and try to use some handy tools (like the Tobi™ Robot Smartwatch) as you go about your day. If you snap some photos, we’d love to see them, so don’t forget to tag us when you post (@OfficialLittleTikes on Instagram, @LittleTikes everywhere else on social media)! 

At Little Tikes, we don’t just make toys, we make play. Looking for more great active play ideas? Check out www.LittleTikes.com for all our latest play tips & tricks!